Game 5 May Provide Rare Treat

At least having Game 5 split into two parts will give younger fans the chance to get to see the conclusion of the game. It's something that's rare in today's world of sports.

It's a dead horse that's been beaten over and over again; but what's one more beating? Major League Baseball needs to put at least a couple of games on television when kids can see them.

Most of us "older fans" can remember a time when there were actually afternoon World Series games. Even the night games started and finished earlier - much earlier - than they do now. Many of us grew up to either go on to play baseball in college or possibly even the pros, or are involved in some way as a devoted baseball fan. Now, many of us "older fans" can't even stay awake to see the conclusion of the games without sacrificing some productivity at work the next day.

With the continuation of Game 5, fans of all ages should have a chance to at least see some late inning baseball and possibly even a championship celebration.

Baseball has suffered a decline of popularity over the years and part of it is because the sport that relies so heavily on its farm systems, hasn't done enough to build a farm system of fans. Younger fans are more enamored with the NFL, because the majority of their games are on when kids can watch them.

The first place to point a finger of shame is in the direction of the TV networks. They're the ones who dictate starting times and even how much time will be between innings. Of course, you can't really blame them, because with the money that they give to MLB for the television rights, they deserve some say in the product.

If Major League Baseball is smart, they'll look to do with their postseason broadcasts what they've done with many of their other assets, especially web sites. Each team web site conforms to the layout and style which has been developed and controlled by MLB. The folks at MLB even look to limit access to coverage of games by other web sites, giving themselves somewhat of a monopoly on the internet. Those of us who blossom on the web do so because we have spent a lot of time and invested a lot of effort into developing relationships that give us access to games and players.

Baseball needs to do the same with television. With the launching of the MLB Network on January 1, 2009, baseball should look to eventually take over the broadcast of the World Series. Instead of selling the rights to someone and letting them sell advertising to recover their costs, MLB should cut out the middle man and simply do the games themselves, pocketing the ad revenues instead of the rights revenues. That would give them more control to put at least a couple of games on at earlier times when most people can watch the games.

Since prime time is considered to be from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. local time, why not at least move the pre-game shows and activities earlier. The ratings are always lower for those shows and if the networks - or the MLB Network - would get those things done by 8 p.m., the game could at least start exactly at eight and give fans a chance to see much of the game.

Game 5 - Part Two - will at least give us a chance to see the most meaningful part of the game at a relatively early hour. Enjoy the opportunity and maybe let the kids sit up a little later tonight, just to give them a glimpse at those special moments that we all have memories of from when we were their age. Mother Nature has at least provided us with that.



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